The tasty looking little confection peeking out from underneath that oozy purple mound of ice cream is a blueberry-almond crumble bar. After I made the ice cream, I wanted to make something to go with it. It had to be something easy, because I was watching the spectacular opening ceremonies of the Olympics and didn't want to miss any of it. I'd seen these on Smitten Kitchen's site a while back and had bookmarked the recipe. It was the perfect thing!
These bars are ridiculously easy to prepare and the end result is a buttery, crumbly shortbread-like crust filled with plump, sweet and juicy blueberry goodness. They were absolutely delicious, with and without the ice cream. In fact, they were so good that I decided they really deserved a post all their own. Apparently, many of you felt the same way, because I had a lot of requests for the recipe. Little did you know that I was planning to write a separate post about the bars all along!
The original recipe calls for fresh lime juice and zest. I decided to switch it up a little bit and swapped out the lime for orange. Since orange and ginger go so well together, I added a little ground ginger to my blueberries for some oomph. With orange and ginger in the game, I just had to somehow fit almonds in too. I ended up substituting a half cup of almond meal for regular flour. I think the almond meal added a subtle nuttiness to the crust, and gave it an even more crumbly texture.
I've never been very successful with a pastry cutter. Also, a car accident a few years ago left me with a permanently damaged rotator cuff. For these reasons, I chose to mix up my dough in the food processor. I've never made it the other way, so I can't tell you how the dough compared, but I can tell you that it worked just fine. So, if you're not up for a shoulder workout, use the processor.
These Blueberry-Almond Crumble Bars were a big hit here in SGCC Land. They were going so fast that I had to hide a few to save for the pictures! While they are certainly terrific paired with ice cream, don't let that stop you from making them on their own. They really are wonderful all by their lonesome!
Blueberry-Almond Crumble Bars (Printable Recipe)
Adapted from allrecipes.com and Smitten Kitchen
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup cold butter (2 sticks)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of 1/2 of a small orange
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, flour, almond flour and baking powder. Add in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. The dough will be crumbly. Alternatively, you can pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor with the butter until pebbly, and then mix in the egg until it all comes together. Pat half of the dough into the buttered pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, ginger and orange juice. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan. Crumble remaining dough over the berries.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until top is a light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.